Riot Games is looking into the automatic word filters in its games after players discovered a confusing bit of censorship. Yesterday Reddit user ResplendentShade brought to light the fact that the word “Uyghur” is banned within the League of Legends client. Others were quick to test this claim, confirming at least that the word cannot be used in user names.
The discussion generated a lot of attention, prompting a quick response from Riot communications lead Ryan Rigney. “Sometimes our system bans really weird words for no good reason,” Rigney stated. “That said it would be (complete) bullshit to intentionally ban the name of any ethnic group.” He later updated his post to announce that the issue had been resolved on all Riot servers. He also stated that the studio will spend time reviewing their disallowed words and phrases lists over the next couple of weeks.
The response indicates that the ban was accidental. Riot places the blame on the algorithms used by League of Legends to proactively filter naughty words. Some also pointed out that League of Legends does not filter out the plural “Uyghurs.” This therefore corroborates the possibility that this was not a case of intentional censorship. Other posters also noted similar incidents from the game’s past. At times, League of Legends had allegedly banned various inoffensive words like “potato” and “Momonga.”
Still, others were less willing to accept this explanation. Reddit user Definitelynotmudkip posted a lengthy list of words that are deliberately banned on the Taiwanese servers of League of Legends. The list includes words like “Falun” and “great firewall.”
This is not even the first time Riot’s policies on censorship have come into question this month. As a Tencent property, the company is arguably under increased public scrutiny in the wake of the recent Blizzard controversy. Players are likely to continue to test the transparency of Riot’s practices in the coming months.
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